Keep your little elves busy, entertained and having new adventures over the holiday break by enrolling them in an amazing winter camp program. We’ve found several wonderlands your kids will love walking into to learn about everything from animals and dinosaurs to making artistic masterpieces, playing soccer, building forts, theater performance and more! Read on for where to sign-up.

photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

Winter Critter Camp
Children from preschool – 6th grade can spend winter break with animals at Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Winter Critter Camp! They will also create crafts, play games and participate in team activities. The camp takes place for three weeks starting on December 18th – January 5th  (no camp on 12/25 or 1/01). Campers will discover the amazing adaptations that allow animals to survive the winter months, learn about their natural environment, observe their unique movements, find out about animal families, and gain a better understanding of how animals help people and how people can help animals.

Cost: Daily sign-ups are offered and camp rates are as follows: preschool rate is $55/day (9 a.m. – 1p.m.) and K-6th rate is $70/day (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Additional options including extended care and lunch are also available.

Camp dates: Dec. 18-22; Dec 26-29; Jan. 2-5.

Helen Woodward Animal Center
6461 El Apajo Rd.
Rancho Santa Fe, Ca 92067

San Diego Soccer Camp
Both established soccer players and little ones with goals of learning more about the game will get a real kick out of taking to the field to hone and develop their skills and have a blast playing the sport at San Diego Soccer Camp. Led by licensed expert SDSC coaches and RB Rec Director Jim Flowers, this Cal Sanctioned soccer camp will include technical (receiving, juggling, dribbling, etc.) and tactical training and small-sided and large-sided games each day, which will result in the marked improvement of your player. Coaches top off the week by giving each camper a camp T-shirt and a gift to remember the fun. Camp is geared for kids ages 4-14.

Cost: $135; sibling discount available (registration flyer here (pdf))

Camp dates: Dec. 26-29; noon-3 p.m. each day

Camp held at: Rancho Bernardo High School
13010 Paseo Lucido
San Diego, Ca 92128

photo: The New Children’s Museum

The New Children’s Museum Camp
Drop in for the day or sign up for a week of creative games and hands-on art activities at this amazing museum designed especially for kids. From 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day, campers will immerse themselves in artistic projects based on a new theme each day. Some of the themes are: Community Helpers, Beach Day, Global Art, Fiber Art Fun, Kids Cafe (baking!), Cardboard Creations and more engaging endeavors. Campers are divided into two grade groups: ages 4-6 and ages 7-12.

Cost: $56/day for museum members or $63/day for non-members; full week camp discount for 4-day camp is $200 and for 5-day camp is $250. Be sure to take advantage of the sibling discount if you send multiple kids to camp.

Camp dates: Dec. 18-29 (no camp on Dec. 25th).

The New Children’s Museum
200 West Island Ave.
San Diego, Ca

photo: Camp Fire via Facebook

Camp Fire Camp CaHiTo 
The sparks will fly during the four weeks of winter camps offered at Camp Fire. Nestled in the paths of Balboa Park, campers enjoy activities ranging from archery, hiking, low ropes challenge courses, fort building, nature crafts and much more. Camp Fire’s goal is to provide kids the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice and discover who they are through outdoor games, songs, and self-growth skills. Campers are divided into the following age groups: ages 5-7, ages 8-10, ages 11-13 and 9th-12th grade.

Cost: $150-$225/session; note: Campers must be a Camp Fire SD member for $25. Benefits include member only discounts, newsletters, event notification and optional club programming and the membership is valid for 365 days.

Camp dates: Dec. 18-22; Dec. 26-29; Jan. 1-5; Jan. 8-12

Camp CaHiTo
3101 Balboa Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92101

photo: Fleet Science Center

Science Camps
Young Einsteins, rejoice! The Fleet Science Center has two weeks of winter camp on offer from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Curious scientists in grades 1-3 will experience an array of educational, hands-on activities like making a marble roller coaster and mechanical toys to creating stop-motion video to learn about optics and filming. Kids in grades 4-8 will hone their computer science and technology skills with stellar activities based on a Star Wars theme. They’ll design and code Star Wars themed blocks in Minecraft, build and code a droid, build a lightsaber and more!

Cost: Non-members: $60/day; members: $55/day

Camp dates: Dec. 18-29

Fleet Science Center
1875 El Prado
San Diego, Ca

Nature Camp at theNAT
Dinosaur C.S.I, Fossil Bureau of Investigation, Ocean Adventure, Animal X-Games and more! These engaging, fascinating single-day camp themes will keep kids in grades 1-5 enthralled and learning something new from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. every day. Register for one or all of the days offered in the week. Your young scientists will be wowed by their new understanding and appreciation for the magnificence of nature.

Cost: $53/members; $58/non-members

Camp dates: Dec. 18-22

San Diego Natural History Museum
1788 El Prado
San Diego, Ca 92101

photo: San Diego Junior Theater via Facebook

San Diego Junior Theater 
All the word’s a stage for your rising star when they take part in this imaginative drama camp. Kids will learn music, games, dance and acting skills while attending four classes each day: Voice, Acting, Dance/Movement and Specialty. Campers get to put their skills on display at an end of camp performance for family and friends!

Cost: $180-$225/session

Camp dates: Dec. 18-22; Dec. 26-29; Jan. 2-5


Casa del Prado Theatre
1600 Village Pl.
Balboa Park
San Diego, Ca 92101

Where do your kids go to winter camp? Share in the comments.

––Beth Shea